Oh Bavaria!

Darn, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?  The last time I updated this blog was back in Amsterdam!  I’ve been back in Vancouver for about three weeks now (more on that later), but thought I’d kick myself in the rear and actually detail what went down the month and a half after Amsterdam.  While my journey has more or less been documented via my Instagram, I owe it to myself to document each destination since then.

While not chronological, I think I’ll post my thoughts about each city as they swing in!

  • Munich absolutely redefined the word “humid”.  Even though we travelled to countries with higher climates after Munich, the humidity made walking around the city almost unbearable.  However, we did take the time to visit the city’s Augustiner Keller beer garden at night, and we stayed in Munich for only 2 days, while staying at the Wombat Hotel.  While it was a short visit, the humidity didn’t give me much of an opportunity to really love the city, as others have.
  • The Autobahn: perhaps one of the only highways in the world where, I swear, driving at 120 km/h will still get you honked at.  And that’s the speed limit for the centre lane… quite frightening when a car revs past at 200 km/h, shaking your vehicle.
  • The beer gardens are MASSIVE; they are just filled with hundreds of people, sitting around on communal wooden tables.  And if it hasn’t been deduced, beer is incredibly cheap in Germany; and in the Bavaria region, it was made clear with how large the mugs were.
  • The pork that we had at Augustiner Keller was absolutely divine; I’ve never tasted such crispy skin, while the meat simply melted.  I mean, the closest thing I’ve had that come close to that experience was the delicious pork belly in Las Vegas, from Mario Batali’s restaurant.  I’m telling you, this was just amazing.

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  • Worst part (yes, even worse than the humidity): the mosquitoes.  Yikes.
  • En route to Munich (from Berlin, where we rented a van from Avis), we stopped at Neuschwanstein Castle, a 19th century restored palace that brings to mind the Disney Castle.  In fact, what was even better than the Castle (which was a sight to see, considering its strategic placement on a high hill in the countryside), was the ride itself to the site; the numerous towns and little valley villages off the highway were breathtaking.  I mean, when I say valley villages, I mean it; we had been rerouted off the Autobahn to a side road that snaked around and into a small valley; it was absolutely fascinating driving on cobblestone roads, seeing the same little red rooftops on top of two-story homes built in identical style.

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  • The German countryside is the definition of “lush”; the rich grass and fields were emerald.  And the giant wind turbines were momentous, punctuating the horizon.

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  • We also took the time to visit Dachau, which was a harrowing experience – it’s an overwhelming experience because the plot of land set aside for the concentration camp screams desolation.  It is flat, with very little vegetation to offer some form of respite from the heat.  The living quarters, the museum exhibits, the plagues were stark reminders of the site’s past; Auschwitz is definitely an experience.  I left the camp feeling quite hollow, suffice to say.

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We had gotten quite a few comments from German individuals that while Berlin was a nice city, it was “ugly”, compared to the rich history and style of Bavaria, and, in particular, Munich.  I wish we could’ve stayed one or two more days in Munich, and while amenities and food weren’t cheaper than Berlin (then again, nothing much is), Munich had a lasting impression.  The German countryside also is another jewel that’s not often explored by weary backpackers, but I think it was one of the highlights for me.  Thanks, Bavaria!

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